William K. Black
December 16, 2019 Bloomington, MN
On December 5, 2019, Lawrence O’Donnell made an impassioned attack on Pete Buttigieg on his “The Last Word” program on MSNBC. Buttigieg’s statements criticizing the Democratic Party as historically soft on deficits enraged O’Donnell. The context was Buttigieg’s effort to signal to New Hampshire voters that he was the most conservative Democratic candidate for the presidential nomination. Nothing signals ‘responsible’ so well to ‘New Democrats’ and the media as a candidate screaming ‘deficits’ in a crowded meeting room in a small New Hampshire town.
O’Donnell correctly pointed out that Buttigieg’s claims about Democrats and deficits are ‘Republican lies.’ The truth is that New Democrats have been the only group in America dedicated to inflicting austerity on our Nation. Republicans only pretend to care about deficits when Democrats have power. Buttigieg knows this, but his political interests in portraying himself as a stalwart emerging leader of the New Democrats caused him to position himself (falsely) as unique among New Democrats in his dedication to inflict austerity.